What is it that makes a house a home? I just love this story of Sally’s Uncle, his family and the history of this Italian farmhouse. I love the feel of her home that comes through in her images and at her blog, family, love and happy moments.
Originally a very simple Italian farmhouse, built to last, with rough stone walls it has slowly been transforming over the years. Built in the 1920’s the taller section of the house held one family, Arrigo’s uncle, his wife and their four children. Whilst the other section built in the 1940’s was home to Sally’s Uncle Arrigo. He lived here with his parents , two sisters and brother.
Back then you can see that the house section was much smaller. There was only the kitchen on the ground floor and the main bedroom upstairs (which is our bedroom today)! All the rest of the house was a cattle shed with the hay storage on the top floor. Fairly typical of an Italian farmhouse.
There was no bathroom, no hot water and no stove in this Italian farmhouse. The fireplace was used to cook, heat water, and was the only heating they had through the winter. There was electricity but it was just for lighting the house.
These were farmers who hardly ever bought anything, they even made their own soap. They ate what they produced and were quite poor, my uncle always says “we were poor, but happy”. Each of the children had duties to do before and after school, which was a four kilometer walk away.
Arrigo and his sister would walk twice a day to the dairy. They would deliver the cow’s milk in two buckets hanging on the ends of a stick that they held on their shoulders. The milk was very precious so they had to be very careful not to spill any. Then there were chickens and other animals to take care of, the garden and so on….
Arrigo was born in this house in 1944, and lived here until 1960. At that time his mother decided to live and work in Milan as a domestic for a family, and he was the only one left with her. His Father had died in his 50s some years before. His two sisters became nuns, (one has been a missionary in Perù for 16 years, and the other a seclusion nun in Foligno). His brother went to a monastry in Bologna where he became a monk, but passed away in his fifties.
So Arrigo went to Milan where he learned to be a mechanic. He married Sally’s aunt, and they had three children. In the seventies after he had married and had his second child, he decided it was time to renovate the farmhouse. It took some years, but they changed the cattle shed and barn into another two bedrooms with a bathroom upstairs, and a huge living room and dining room downstairs.
There is another big room right on top of the garage that has never been finished. Sally plans to create another small apartment with an open space for English lessons putting up a small school, with an outside entrance. She lives here full time with her husband Settimo and her mother Tanina. “Anyway we have been changing and renovating a lot during the last 5 years, especially inside, and starting to do outside too”.